How Coffee can Reduce Chances of Alzheimer's & Parkinson's
New Research suggests drinking coffee may protect you against developing both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
A new study out of the Krembil Brain Institute suggests there could be more to that morning jolt of goodness than a boost in energy and attention. Drinking coffee may also protect you against developing both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
"Coffee consumption does seem to have some correlation to a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease," says Dr. Donald Weaver, Co-director of the Krembil Brain Institute.
TYPE OF COFFEE?
Dr. Weaver enlisted Dr. Ross Mancini, a research fellow in medicinal chemistry and Yanfei Wang, a biologist, to help. The team chose to investigate three different types of coffee -- light roast, dark roast, and decaffeinated dark roast.
"The caffeinated and de-caffeinated dark roast both had identical potencies in our initial experimental tests," says Dr. Mancini. "So we observed early on that its protective effect could not be due to caffeine."
Dr. Mancini then identified a group of compounds known as phenylindanes, which emerge as a result of the roasting process for coffee beans.
Phenylindanes are unique in that they are the only compound investigated in the study that prevent -- or rather, inhibit -- both beta amyloid and tau, two protein fragments common in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, from clumping.
"So phenylindanes are a dual-inhibitor. Very interesting, we were not expecting that." says Dr. Weaver.
As roasting leads to higher quantities of phenylindanes, dark roasted coffee appears to be more protective than light roasted coffee.
"It's the first time anybody's investigated how phenylindanes interact with the proteins that are responsible for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's," says Dr. Mancini.
The fact that it's a natural compound vs. synthetic is also a major advantage, says Dr. Weaver.
"Mother Nature is a much better chemist than we are and Mother Nature is able to make these compounds. If you have a complicated compound, it's nicer to grow it in a crop, harvest the crop, grind the crop out and extract it than try to make it."